My worst solo flight to date...

naunga

New Member
So I went flying on Friday afternoon. The winds were not bad, but they couldn't decide where they wanted to go. I started out with 230 at 8 and my third trip through the pattern they were 200 at 10.

This was all well and good since I really wanted to get some crosswind landings in. I should've quit after my first T&G.

First landing: Bounced and bounced hard. Tried to recover and just couldn't get the plane to settle gently back in ground effect. Oh, well first one of the day, the second one will be better.

Second landing: Bounced again, after pretty much doing a 3 point landing. Now, I'm starting to get worried since at that point the winds were pretty much calm.

Third landing: The winds decided to go cross on me. Like 200 at 10. So I'm on final, airspeed is good. Got my crab in. Get closer to the runway transition to a side slip. Touch down a little hard, but on one wheel, no bounce, but this time the plane jerks to the left skids back to right and goes up on the right wheel. At this point my confidance with landing for today went straight to hell. So I get myself back on the center line, takeoff, and depart the pattern.

I do so airwork (S&L, turns, climbs, descents, slow flight, and a stall or two). Get myself calmed down, and head back to Lakefront to call it a night.

I get ATIS and the winds are now 180 at 15. Great. I'm having a crappy day doing landings and now I have almost a 15Kts direct crosswind to contend with. I recognize that is a bad mindset to be in and remedy it with, "You can handle this. You've made some pretty damn good landings in a 40 degree 15 knot crosswind that was gusting to 23 kts. 180 at 15 is no problem."

I report my final, crab, slip, bounce, bounce, decided to go around. At this point I'm thinking I'm never going to be able to land the plane. I'm stuck up here. Again, I thankfully recognize this train of thought is not going to help, and say to myself, "you don't have a choice. Land the plane! You know how." So at this point I'm talking myself down. "Okay, 500' to pattern, turn crosswind, there's pattern, power back. trim. Okay abeam my touchdown point. Power to 1500, for straight and level, first notch of flaps, pitch for 80KIAS and 500 Ft/Min descent." etc.

My last landing was a little firm but a good xwind landing (on the upwind wheel first, downwind wheel, then nose).

I didn't get a chance to talk with my CFI about it, but in looking back I think I saw a couple of things, and I'd like some opinions on whether that sounds right or not.

Frst, that jerk landing. I think I did some reading and it sounds like I landed in with a crab. Does that sound right? I had no clue how to recover for that (thank god I "landed" right on the center line) I made sure the power was out and let the kinetic energy disapate on it's own, putting in small brake and rudder inputs to keep me on the runway. Is there an actually technique to recover from this?

Second, that flight really rattled my cage. I had a flight scheduled for Saturday, but had to scub it because of weather. I was happy to do so. What are some suggestions to get my confidence back?

Obviously I'm going to have a talk with my CFI next time, and I'm getting right back into the air (as soon as the weather clears), but I'd just like to hear what you guys have to say.

Later.

Naunga
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
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Second, that flight really rattled my cage. I had a flight scheduled for Saturday, but had to scub it because of weather. I was happy to do so. What are some suggestions to get my confidence back?


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First, let me say that we've all been there. Its part of flight training! Anyone who tells you that they've never scared themselves or lost confidence or had a bad experience, etc., is flat out lying.

Don't think of your flight as a failure, think of it as a success. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. After all, you said it yourself:

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My last landing was a little firm but a good xwind landing (on the upwind wheel first, downwind wheel, then nose).

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That means you must have done something right. Theres not much luck involved in crosswind landings, its pure skill.

And then think about the other things you did right:

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So I get myself back on the center line, takeoff, and depart the pattern.

I do some airwork (S&L, turns, climbs, descents, slow flight, and a stall or two). Get myself calmed down, and head back to Lakefront to call it a night.


[/ QUOTE ]

Good decision.

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Great. I'm having a crappy day doing landings and now I have almost a 15Kts direct crosswind to contend with. I recognize that is a bad mindset to be in and remedy it with, "You can handle this. You've made some pretty damn good landings in a 40 degree 15 knot crosswind that was gusting to 23 kts. 180 at 15 is no problem."


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At this point I'm thinking I'm never going to be able to land the plane. I'm stuck up here. Again, I thankfully recognize this train of thought is not going to help, and say to myself, "you don't have a choice. Land the plane! You know how." So at this point I'm talking myself down.

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Again, good job keeping your cool and recognizing hazardous mindsets. Theres pilots with hundreds or maybe thousands of hours that have trouble doing that.

So like I said, instead of focusing on the bad landings- focus on the things that went well, and the good decisions that you made.

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Obviously I'm going to have a talk with my CFI next time, and I'm getting right back into the air (as soon as the weather clears)

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And that is the very best thing you can do to help your confidence.

Keep at it, and don't let one rough flight get you down- we all have them!
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Frst, that jerk landing. I think I did some reading and it sounds like I landed in with a crab. Does that sound right? I had no clue how to recover for that (thank god I "landed" right on the center line) I made sure the power was out and let the kinetic energy disapate on it's own, putting in small brake and rudder inputs to keep me on the runway. Is there an actually technique to recover from this?

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Hey Naunga,

As you said, you probably landed with the crab in, but I think the reason you jerked so hard, you had your feet on the toe brakes as well as the rudder (trying to keep the crab in), so the instant you touched down, the plane went hard left because you had too much pressure on the left toe brake. Don't worry about that, I think everyone does that once in a while. I have done it a few times and it scares the crap out of me.

Again, good job on maintaining your cool. Your next flight will be much better, they usually are.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
I remember a flight I had when I was getting my PPL that about made me stop flying altogether....

It was like my second time out solo, and I was working on landings in a x-wind. Don't remember the speed, but like most of the time in FL the winds were constantly picking up, then slowing down. Had the plane set up well on short final, touchdown on the numbers....nose first. Then it got really bad. Sideloaded like hell, slid across the runway, and I swerved to avoid that light on the edge of the runway. Aparently, it was so bad that the tower asked if I was okay. I told them yeah, but this is going to be a full stop now.

My flight instructor wasn't there, but one of the other instructors saw it. My instructor called me the next day to make sure I was okay. We did some ground work, went over what I could have done to avoid the situation, then went up and practiced landings for about 2 hours.
 

N9103M

Well-Known Member
Trust me, those days don't go away..... It happens to everyone, no matter what the skill level.
 

Sprint100

Well-Known Member
Yeah, stick in there naunga. I'm not at an instructor's level, so I can't really tell you what you probably did wrong. But as a new pilot myself be happy you got through those moments and keep asking "what did I do wrong" to more experienced pilots. Definitely stick in there though.
Sometimes we have bad days just to make the good days easier to see!!!!!!!!!!!
 

aloft

New Member
Ain't nuthin but a thing, dude. Just after I soloed (the first time, back in '86), I inadvertently spun a 150 while solo--and I hadn't been taught spin recovery! Scared the bejesus out of me. Just gotta get back on that horse and try to learn from the experience.

[Edit] I do have to express my dismay at your instructor letting you fly solo in a 15 kt direct crosswind, tho...there's a reason that's the limit for 172s.
 

stultus

New Member
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I do have to express my dismay at your instructor letting you fly solo in a 15 kt direct crosswind, tho...there's a reason that's the limit for 172s.

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That's exactly what I was thinking. Bad instructor, bad instructor.

Though I did land a 150 at maximum demonstrated crosswind when I was on a solo XC once, but my instructor certainly wouldn't have let me had we known it was going to be that way.

And Naunga, I've been there...I was kind hoping those moments when I sweat would not happen after I got my lic...it's definitely more rare now, but it sounds like what the more experienced guys here are saying is that we can look forward to what my instructor euphemistically dubbed "great learning experiences" the rest of our flying career.
 

stultus

New Member
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Ain't nuthin but a thing, dude. Just after I soloed (the first time, back in '86), I inadvertently spun a 150 while solo--and I hadn't been taught spin recovery! Scared the bejesus out of me.


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Holy crap. What'd you do?
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
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I do have to express my dismay at your instructor letting you fly solo in a 15 kt direct crosswind, tho...there's a reason that's the limit for 172s.


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Well, when he started out it was right down the runway. It wasn't until coming back from maneuvers that it was 180@15. Winds tend to change fast around here.
 

naunga

New Member
I should clarify that he put a limitation on my endorsment of no more than a 10kts direct crosswind.

The problem was that when I took off and had my briefing with him the winds were 230 at 8 (basically right down the runway).

The winds shifted while I was in the practice area.

Had the winds been that way when I had started...well I wouldn't have flown.

But nature's a mother.

One last thing, the runway heading is 240, so a 180 degree xwind is still 60 degrees short of being a direct crosswind.

And not to get technical about it, but if you read the POH, the 15Kts crosswind stuff is demonstrated performance and is clearly labeled "Not a limitation". Not trying to be an ass, just pointing it out.

Naunga
 

naunga

New Member
Guys,

Thanks for all the replies. I spent all day yesterday thinking and reading about what went wrong.

Basically I came to some of the same conclusions that you guys did. It was just nice to get some affirmations from people who know and have been there before.

After thinking about it all, I've realized that it really boosted my confidence a bit. I've had my first taste of what can go wrong (albeit not like spinning an airplane), and I realized that A) I can keep my cool and B) can get back down safely.

So thanks again.

Naunga
 

jholloway_1

New Member
Exact same thing happened to me on friday. I was doing an instrument lesson with my instructor and another prospective student in the back seat. When we finished the lesson, I dropped my instructor off, and was going to do some t&g's just for practice. Winds were calm, as they had been all day, and I took off. On downwind, it was probably some of the worst turbulence i've had for a long time, and tower gave winds at 330 @ 18 gusting 23 i think. I was landing 21, so I made a go around and requested runway 31. He gave it to me, and winds shifted some, (340 or 350, can't remember) and I was getting really nervous, Because I've never had that much practice in xwind. So some how I got slow on final, little less than 70 on short final (C172), and didn't really have a good crab in at all. I was pointed into the wind, and got really close to going off the runway. Basically, i just freaked out and got scared. My heart rate was terrible after i got down. On reason I was nervous was because that prospective student was still in plane. I wouldn't of went up if knew the winds were going to pick up that fast. So basically, I got too slow, bad crab, almost off the runway... Not a fun flight at all. So Naugna, I feel ya, and hopefully we'll get a little better at this xwind things.
 

Eagle

New Member
Don't feel bad everyone falls off the Wagon... so to speak.

I just finished 3 days of checkrides/orals for the new job.

Without a doubt the worst flying I have EVER done in my life.

Nearly Killed us once I am sure..
nonetheless they actually hired me to fired me...

truthfully I a tad shaken up now 3 days later..

SO it happens.

But I know what I did wrong, I know what I will never EVER do again. and we move on.

That is the trick, Debioref the flight (even with yourself.) learn correct improve.
 
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